Characteristics of Baroque Art

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Baroque is a term given to the style of art during the late 16th century to the middle of the 18th century. Ironically, the term was first used by critics to describe art that failed to meet their standards of beauty. Baroque art is often described as an "intense movement of explosive energy." It is a style that is full of flamboyant concepts and dramatic quality. The elaborate ornamentation, a prime characteristic of Baroque Art is eloquently displayed in the masterpiece, Snyders and his wife by Van Dyck. Upon examination of the painting, the viewer can clearly see numerous unique characteristic of Baroque Art displayed in this masterpiece.

Van Dyck, a Flemish painter, was a young prodigy. His talents were clearly evident at the early age of 15. Several distinct characteristics of the Baroque era are portrayed in this work of art. Baroque paintings in Italy often showed a significant amount of attention toward the amount of light present.

Van Dyck used chiaroscuro, the use of light and dark shadows to create an object, to emphasis the faces of Snyder and his wife. Light appears to brighten the faces of the couple in contrast to the darkness of the foreground. The use of chiaroscuro is a characteristic of the Baroque time period. In the baroque period, painters sought for a truer depiction of perspective in their works. Realism is another integral feature of baroque art. The figures in paintings, like Snyders and his wife are not perfected models of humans as was favored in previous eras but they are real people and are painted as such, showing blemishes and other unsightly marks. Synders and his wife were a real couple. Frans Snyder was actually another famous painter of the Baroque time period. For the portrait, Van Dyck used an oil...